Brooklyn Seltzer Boys got their moment in the limelight on CBS 2 News here on the east coast on Sunday, September 2nd, 2018. This small startup has a large following and an even larger impact on modern retro living. After ages of collecting decades-old glass seltzer bottles, the staff at BSB offers New York City a taste of timeless sparkling water in a classic delivery.
According to CBS’s report, the market is precisely right for this type of business to grow and emerge. Currently, about 821 million gallons of sparkling water are consumed in America alone each year. The healthy alternative to sodas and other fountain drinks has made itself a staple of today’s culture through the classics like Vintage brand and the newer La Croix brand. No matter which you like best, seltzer water is a great beverage served cold, iced, or at room temperature.
So the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys struck gold at the intersection of green methods, trending health foods, retro living, and timeless traditions within their business.
Once again, retro is a green style of living. Not too long ago, the RRBlog team found a small quote on Facebook that read simply, “We didn’t have to worry about carbon footprints in my day because we didn’t have disposables. Paper napkins used to be linen, bottles were cleaned over and over again, and we wouldn’t dream of throwing out towels because they sure weren’t made of paper either”. The collection of glass, reusable bottles is not only aesthetically pleasing, but economically sound for this incredible small-but-growing establishment. So already, the appeal expands well beyond the generations that remember seltzer deliveries. In an effort for consumers to reduce their carbon footprint and enjoy a much healthier alternative to fountain drinks like sodas and sugary artificials, many conscious buyers turn to seltzer- delivered the way it used to be.
So Alex Gomberg welcomed an interview with our dear Manny Dylan. And here’s how it went!
To understand the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys now, we need to understand where they came from: Gomberg Seltzer has been a bottling center for seltzer men for decades. Started by the great-grandfather of the current vice president of Gomberg Seltzer and the Brooklyn Seltzer boys, Mr. Alex Gomberg. The founder of Gomberg Seltzer had been a seltzer man for a very long time; a decade-long career of delivering the goods to homes in New York and when they felt the need to not only have more control over the product they were sending out, as well as wishing to be involved more so with the bottling and then with the transportation, because of the amount of labor involved, Gomberg Seltzer was born as an organization by and for seltzer men. Before the founding of Gomberg Seltzer there was a conglomerate of seltzer bottling plants that multiple organizations used. The spirit of innovation and progress runs in the Gomberg family, with Alex as the current vice president taking up the mantle of being a Seltzer Man. Utilizing the product that is Gomberg Seltzer, something used by multiple seltzer delivery services in the area as well, Alex realized that Gomberg Seltzer was struggling to keep up in the modern market. By introducing the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, the first seltzer delivery service utilizing internet subscription services and reaching out to restaurants, Alex revived his family’s business and showed the viability of the retro methods and incredibly innovative spirit that runs in his family. It becomes very clear from our conversation embedded in the YouTube video below that Alex Gomberg is not only a family man but someone who respects what is family has built, and wanted to make it something that can continue on, hoping to have some young seltzer men coming up in his family with some time.
At the intersection of American history and family, I find myself fortunate enough to be interviewing the vice president of the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys company, and heir to the Gomberg seltzer family business, Mr. Gomberg is an incredibly humble and extraordinary person, family man, and heir to a generations-long legacy of seltzer water. According to the man himself (and his father and other family members), seltzer runs in their blood, I had the distinct pleasure sitting down as Mr. Gomberg poured a chilled glass of seltzer water for me during this interview. In every sentence uttered regarding his family’s business and seltzer water in general, you can hear there’s a care and passion for the art of the old ways of the elusive seltzer man. With the more recent inclusion of having a website, Mr. Gomberg is part of the new seltzer revolution using new tools as well as old ones in promoting his expansive beverage empire.
The Brooklyn Seltzer Boys use a vast amount of mostly repaired and soon-to-be repaired glass vintage seltzer bottles. These bottles are not your run-of-the-mill plastic bottle from the supermarket: These are high-pressure controlling and valve construction, at least in the tops used. As described by the man himself, these bottles are part of the history as well, being made of particularly thick glass that is no longer made at this point. But usually, stocks of these bottles being found in people’s basements or from previous seltzer men find their way to being donated, which keeps the Gombergs’ business ready for a larger customer base. There is always a need for more seltzer bottles! According to Mr. Gomberg, their facility is working very hard to repair the damaged ones, and have new cases of seltzer out as often as possible. The sense of responsibility to reuse the past is in many ways thought to be new, but I was personally enlightened to the realization that the old way is the new way now.
In older business models you had organizations such as milk men, likewise there were seltzer men, who would come and take empty bottles and fill them and return them to families and this would continue in cycles. There was very little waste in these services because the same bottles are being used after they were emptied of whatever their contents were. Likewise with the nozzle heads that are utilized by the Seltzer bottles they are mechanisms in themselves. In no larger than 2 square inches of a piece of metal, there are valves and springs at work making sure that the pressurized seltzer inside of these unique bottles is always fresh for everybody who is lucky enough to press them. Mr. Gomberg is revolutionizing the industry by bringing things back to the good old days, yet incorporates very new and relevant things to revive his family’s business. As well as joining the Seltzer delivery business again after several generations of bottling seltzer, Mr. Alex Gomberg brought his business into the digital age, with a website and internet presence powerful enough to make Brooklyn Seltzer Boys the main source that comes up whenever one searches vintage seltzer, retro seltzer, or seltzer delivery on a google search. Another very big change as noted in some interviews with some of the other members of Gomberg Seltzer is the marketing of these seltzer services every month to restaurants, so instead of wasting a small plastic bottle of seltzer there is an interactive experience for people at those bars, and there’s a great appreciation of what is the current pattern in how people consume products.
The Brooklyn Seltzer Boys deliver around NY and into NJ so give them a call and get your fizz on! Check them out at www.brooklynseltzerboys.com.